Serena Williams has suggested the upcoming US Open will be her last tennis major, saying she will be ‘evolving away’ from the sport after the upcoming tournament at Flushing Meadows (Williams 28/1 to win the US Open – outright).
Though she states she does not like the word ‘retirement’, the 40-year-old says she plans to head towards ‘other things that are important to me’.
Williams is the most successful women’s tennis player of the Open era. Her 23 Grand Slam singles titles puts her second on the all-time list, behind Margaret Court on 24.
Williams, crowned singles champion on six occasions at the US Open throughout her career, expects to feature again in the final major of the year when the event returns on August 29th.
She returned to the court this week in Toronto for the National Bank Open, beating Nuria Parrizas Dias, ranked 57th in the world, to record her first singles win on the WTA Tour since a third-round victory over fellow American Danielle Collins at the 2021 French Open.
The younger of the dynastic Williams sister pairing, Serena was forced to retire from last summer’s Wimbledon tournament after just six games of her opener against Aliaksandra Sasnovich with a leg injury.
She was not seen in action again until a keenly followed run to the semi-finals on the grass of Eastbourne in June, teaming up with Ons Jabeur before a knee injury for the Tunisian meant another forced withdrawal.
Her singles run at this year’s Wimbledon, however, was ended in round one by Harmony Tan; the young Frenchwoman prevailed in a length three-set battle, taking a deciding tie-break 9-7.
A possible last-ever appearance at the US Open does, in effect, mean a final shot at equalling Court’s famous record but realistically has the impression of a lap of honour for Serena, currently unranked until her win over Parrizas Dias is reflected in the updated lists on Monday.
The Michigan native won the first of her major singles titles in New York in 1999, defeating Martina Hingis in straight sets.
She went on to face her sister, Venus, in her next six finals – winning five – as the pair exercised dominance over the women’s game.
She sealed title number 23, also against Venus, at the Australian Open in January 2017, but was defeated in straight sets in each of her four subsequent Grand Slam finals.
Last year’s US Open saw unheralded British qualifier Emma Raducanu sweep away the field before defeating Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the final. (US Open 2022 – Women’s – Emma Raducanu 25/1).